onsdag 26. januar 2011

How to eat well on a budget when you're not a fan of cooking?

Dette kommer til å gå på engelsk av div grunner.

I have a couple of friends who, for various reasons, aren't the most cookery-inclined nor have the most money. This poses a couple of challenges on the road to varied, healthy and cheap eating. If you have enough money, eating out isn't much of a problem. If you enjoy cooking, there is a world of spices and varied ingredients out there for you to tinker with. When you lack both, you have a challenge. Or I have a challenge :-) One of the main tricks for eating good, easy to cook food on a budget is availability. What do you have lurking in cupboards, fridge and freezer?

One of the main staples I always keep in my pantry is carbohydrates. For me that means rice and pasta. I always have spaghetti, macaroni and some sort of shaped pasta (fusili, farfalle, penne etc), but you really only need one kind. I also keep various types of beans. If you get the heebie jeebies just thinking about soaking and cooking beans, don't worry. Tins are your friends. Baked beans for toast or breakfast plus either kidney or white beans for bulking out stews, soups etc. Also make sure you always have tinned tomatoes stored away. Buy bulk when you find them cheap. Yes, there are differences in taste and quality, but seriously. We're talking tinned tomatoes, you'll most likely end up boiling it with all sorts of veg and spices in either a chili con carne or bolognese. Pick your battles. In addition to this I try to always keep a jar or two of olives, a couple tins of anchovies and a jar of pesto.  Lastly, have a glance at your spice rack. Soy sauce, salt and pepper is a must, but also stuff like chilipowder, oregano and basil are worth keeping. Also make sure you have one or two types of oil. Rapeseed/sunflower if you keep only one, add an olive oil if you keep two.

Now to the fridge. I always keep onions, carrots and garlic. My holy trinity. Lot of flavour, healthy and it keeps well. In the veg bin there is also usually potatoes. I also keep eggs, butter, single cream (matfløte) as it has a really long shelf-life), milk and cheese. In the freezer I always have some kind of bacon (I buy it cheap in Sweden), frozen veg (whichever you prefer, I keep peas, spinach and broccoli) as well as some type of frozen meat. Get what you like and is affordable. I always keep mince and chickenbreasts, and atleast around here pork chops is usually found quite cheap.

There. I have now listed a grand total of 30 ingredients. Keeping these (with some variety for preference) will make sure you can always rustle up something easy (and most often also quick) to eat. Later I'm going to add some recipes based on these basic ingredients. I promise you, there is a lot that can be made from this.

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